Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Solidarity or Sanctimony?

WARNING: Rant ahead......

Why do people do those" live on two dollars a day or less for a week" things? It seems they are popping up all over the place these days. What is their motivation? I mean, is it really because they want to feel what it's like? Or is it just that it's trendy and the thing to do? And then tell everyone about it so others will see how concerned they are about hunger in third world countries? Does it make them feel good about themselves - like they are doing something noble? Or, is it just to see if they CAN do it?

I'm sorry - it's beginning to irritate me. Us playing them when they are truly hungry.

That has to seem like a mockery. If you want to enter into this, make real changes, not drastic, splashy," I'm cool cuz I'm doing it for a week" things.

Really cut back. Change the way you look at food, the way you eat. What you eat. Make changes in lifestyle, gas consumption, energy use and consumerism. And mean it. Don't just do it to be cool, or to fool yourself into thinking you get it. Or to alleviate guilt.Or to make some statement.

And why choose this particular project? Why aren't more of them choosing to experience poverty and homelessness in the US? Why don't I see them living / sleeping on a street in Chicago for a week in torn rags, with no coat, in the middle of the winter - and writing about that?

I'm sure this post is gonna make people mad. And I'm equally sure there are some who are doing these things with very good intentions. I'm just not sure this is the way to do it, or that telling everyone about it is the way to go. It's like fasting. Do I run around telling everyone I'm fasting? Or do I just do it - as a thing between God and me? As a way to enter into communion with God. A way for him to show me what I need to hear, see and know.

Yes, we need to understand there are billions or more starving. We need to understand the horrendous poverty that over half the world endures. We need to find ways - like letter writing or phone calls to congressmen, or working on the Jubilee act, or any number of other ways - to help alleviate these conditions, not just pretend to be in their shoes.

Do it if you choose, but keep it between you and God, and maybe a friend or two to talk about what has changed in your life as a result of it. Just don't stand on the street corner enlightening all who walk by.

And when I see you eating cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening for your five days like they are doing in Haiti right now as their regular meal, I will be more likely to believe you are doing it for the right reasons.....


Kevin J. Bowman said...

Wow!!!! That was almost a Kevin level soap box rant!

Let me just give you another side, from the bottom of my heart! Each year as we approach Orphan Sunday, many organizations do these solidarity challenges.

I was doing one this week, but I quit today! Not because I couldn't make it, because I could. But because I like you had to honestly say that it did not accomplish it's goal.

However, I do think it is a great idea, as a means to introduce people to the idea of cutting their consumption. I think most people will fail to get that point, however the value is in the 1 who does get it. I actually KNOW that young man this time.

He seems to have gotten it and is talking about genuine changes in his consumption, spending, and life choices. Now that makes the trend worth it.

Just as comfort, Orphan Sunday is this Sunday, and then it will all be over, at least until next year.

gerbmom said...

ha ha - Kevin level. I like that. ;)
And I'm so honored......

And yes, I do see it's validity in some situations. But not in most, especially in the ones I am observing at the moment.....

Charlotte Wyncoop said...

Beautiful rant Karen - and thank you!

Now if I had just such a mirror on all my hypocrisy...